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P. 9

  I don’t
get out
much
Views from our ever so slightly grumpy, but often unerringly accurate, columnist
Opinion
The online
option can
leave you at
the mercy of
scammers
Is it just me or have the spammers and crooks of this world been having a field day over the last year as we spend more and more time online?
Touch wood, I had been fortunate enough to avoid responding to those “you have authorised a payment to..” or “you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay outstanding tax immediately..” emails and texts that are doing the rounds at present.
But it is clear that many, many people are being tricked into transferring funds into a new bank account “for your own security” or clicking on an innocent looking link in an official looking email. While we have a duty to take care, the various organisations we communicate with on a daily basis also have an important role to play in keeping us safe online.
Which is why I was surprised, and perhaps a little bit shocked, to receive a call early one Friday morning from the supermarket I have been using for click and collect shopping.
I did not know initially it was the store as the number shown on my telephone was a mobile number and I let the call go to answerphone.
On playing back the message the caller said he was speaking from said store. There had, apparently, been a problem with the credit card details I had entered online when booking the shopping to be collected later that day.
“At this point I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Me, give out credit card details to a person at the end of an unknown mobile number? Not a chance.”
This was, I should add, the same card I had used with said store for around nine months.
The caller then asked me to call him back on his mobile number and give details of an alternative credit card.
At this point I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Me, give out credit card details to a person at the end of an unknown mobile number? Not a chance. So I rang my bank, feeling confident they would be able to help. They couldn’t. All they would do is acknowledge that the
bank was aware of a few similar problems.
What to do? After all, we wanted to eat that week. Well, I found the number for supermarket concerned and rang that rather than the mobile number supplied earlier. At least I was sure of who I was speaking with!
The problem was sorted within a few minutes and I was able to collect our red wine, white wine, brandy and loaf of bread later in the day.
So, two black marks this week from me – the first to the supermarket. Why not send me an email (addresses are easily checked) asking me to go to my online account to change payment details?
The second black mark goes to my bank. Simply for being unable to help.
As my reader may remember I meet once a week, when COVID rules allow, with my Befriending Scheme friend Stanley.
In the good old days pre-COVID we used to have coffee inside Greggs (other coffee and eating establishments are available). But since the last lockdown restrictions were eased in March, we have met outside on Angel Hill in Bury St. Edmunds.
This proved to be a very pleasant place to have a chat and watch the world go by. He would get himself a drink from afore- mentioned coffee and eating establishment on his way through town, and I would take my insulated mug with homemade coffee (I am a pensioner, after all).
In mid-April I suggested a change of venue as two people were now able to meet outside establishments which had socially-distanced outdoor seating. Which is how we ended up sitting outside The Apex.
As someone who has a close relative who is a transplant patient and needs to be extra careful, I stick rigidly to the Covid rules – whatever they are at any particular moment in time.
Which leads me back to The Apex. Based on our visit, the staff deserve a virtual round of applause for making customers feel so comfortable from entering (hand sanitiser and clearly visible NHS app location code) to clearly marked social distancing before reaching the counter and incessant and thorough cleaning of every table and chair outside between customers.
Thank you.
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